major variety of the English language spoken throughout Australia
Travel topics > Talk > Australian slang

Australian slang is informal language used in Australia.

UnderstandEdit

This guide should be viewed as an informal and fun introduction to some Australian idiosyncrasies, rather than a guide on how to communicate.

Increasing globalisation and a move away from rural living has seen Australian English adopt a lot of American terms while at the same time romanticising words commonly associated with the bush. Australians mostly view their slang as being uniquely Australian and an integral part of their culture. Judging by the number of Australian slang books available on the shelves, it remains of interest to travellers too.

Many parts of Australian slang have their origins outside Australia, particularly in England and Ireland. Don't be surprised if many terms seem familiar. However, don't assume that similar slang expressions have the same meaning to Australians as they might in other countries. An attempt to use some Australian slang will likely be viewed as an attempt to mock, rather than as a genuine attempt to speak the local dialect. It's better to use the guide to interpret Steve Irwin's former TV shows or if you're really unsure, just use American English, as nearly every Australian speaks American English just as well as they speak their own dialect. Trying to use British English also will get you there in most places, but most British terms that are not commonly used in Australia (such as lorry or crisps) will likely not be understood by most, unlike American.

A significant portion of Australian lexicon and place names derive from one of the hundreds of Indigenous Australian languages spoken before the British colonial period, many of which are still spoken today. Some words and names like "Wooloomooloo", "Oodnadatta" or "Kununurra" which visitors to the country may find challenging to pronounce, typically roll off the tongue of Australian English speakers.

English-speaking travellers are best advised just to speak clearly, as most Australians are used to a variety of accents. However, it can never hurt to say "G'day, How ya goin'" to an Aussie.

GreetingsEdit

G'day
Hello.
How ya goin'
How are you?
Not bad mate
Fine, thank you.
Cheers mate / Cheers brother
Thank you.
No worries / No drama
You're welcome (in response to thank you)
Oi
Excuse me (regarded as uncouth by some people)
You're right
That is okay (in response to sorry)
Yeah, nah
I understand but disagree
See ya later
Goodbye
Hoo roo
Goodbye
Take it easy
Goodbye
Devo
Definitely
Reckon
For sure

TimeEdit

Brekkie
breakfast
Arvo
afternoon, e.g. "Let's meet for a schooner this arvo".
Yonks
commonly used to convey an exaggerated view of time, e.g. "I haven't seen you in yonks".

ColoursEdit

Bluey
Red hair
Ranga
Red haired (This can be considered offensive.)

CursingEdit

Bastards

You may hear this a lot and it can be used in a wide range of situations, and confusingly it can be either affectionate or insulting. It is not as strong as its use in British English. For example if you experience some luck then you may be referred to as a 'lucky bastard' (in a positive sense). Generally anyone in authority, especially politicians, can be referred to as 'bastards', although a politician with a good and honest reputation may be referred to as a 'good kind of bastard'. You can occasionally refer to friends as bastards, but you should avoid with strangers.

Australians typically have a more laid-back approach to swearing when compared to other countries. Most of the time swearing is used for emphasis rather than to cause offence.

Bugger
Damn - a common expression of disappointment, not offensive.
Drongo, Galah, Turkey
an idiot or a fool (not generally considered offensive)
Bloody bastard
Usually used to show displeasure with an action or dislike of a person
bloody
very usually used when not in a good mood

Sex and AnatomyEdit

Franga
Condom (also Wetcheck, wetty, hoody, raincoat).
Screw
Sexual intercourse.
Root
Sexual intercourse, similar to the British word 'Shag'. Can also be used as a verb. This also affects Australian sporting terminology—while an American would root for a preferred team or athlete, an Australian would barrack or go for the same.
Scrag
Sexual intercourse.
Gob Job
Fellatio.
Bum
Backside.

EatingEdit

Avo
Avocado
Grab a feed
Get something to eat
Barbie
Barbecue.
Sanga
Sandwich.
Brekkie
Breakfast
Take-away
Fast food also used instead of "to go" when ordering food.
Lollies
Confectionary/sweets/candy
Scab
To scrounge off a friend, as in scab a feed.
Snags / Sizzie
Sausage Sizzles
Bludge
To be lazy, or to scab as above. A person who bludges is a bludger. Bludge can also mean to simply avoid
Tucker
Food
Macca's Run
Late night trip to McDonald's, usually after a few alcoholic drinks.
Bikkie
Biscuit, by extension chocolate biscuit is chokky bikkie

DrinkingEdit

Cuppa
A cup of coffee
Grog
alcoholic drink, likely beer.
Plonk
Cheap wine.
Goon
Cheap wine that comes in a box.
Sloshed
Somebody who is very drunk.
Pony, Middy, Pot, Schooner, Handle
Various sizes of glass (usually used for beer). Definitions vary by state.
Bevo/Bevvie
Alcoholic beverage

Clothing, Accessories and objectsEdit

Wife-beater
A sleeveless shirt
Thongs
Flip-flops
Sticky tape
The proper way to say tape
Barbie
BBQ
Bathers
Swimsuit
Billy
teapot in the outback on the fire
Booze-bus
Police vehicle used to catch drunk drivers
Budgie Smugglers
Speedos, men's swimming briefs
Lappy
Laptop
Sunnies
Sunglasses
Gum boots
Wellington boots

PeopleEdit

Tradie
Any tradesperson
Mate
Anybody at all, more commonly used by males, friends, someone you have never met
Old Mate
Someone that you know, but have forgotten their name.
Aussie
Australian - pronounced Ozzy.
Mob
A group of family or friends - "us mob" (mainly Aboriginal English).
Youse
Plural of you - pronounced 'Yooz'. Only common in working-class areas.
Bogan
An unsophisticated and boorish person, usually speaks in an Ocker fashion; favoured expression outside of Sydney to describe Westies.
Westie
A person from the western suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. (all being working-class neighbourhoods)
Brickie
Bricklayer
Sparkie
Electrician
Chippie
Carpenter
Truckie
Truck driver
Bikie
Biker, usually used to refer to members of an outlaw motorcycle gang, rather than members of a motorbike club.
Ocker
A description of unique Aussie culture. An ocker Aussie would use a lot of these words often.
Banana Benders
Queenslanders
Cane Toads
Queenslanders; especially used to refer to the state's representative rugby league team and its supporters
Cockroaches
Somebody from New South Wales (usually by Queenslanders in reference to the State of Origin rugby league rivalry)
Sheila
A woman
Eshay
A teenager, particularly boys who wear branded clothing and are into drugs. However, it's mainly used to signify a rich teen
Yank
An American
Kiwi
A New Zealander
Pom/Pommy
An Englishman
Ranga
A person with red hair, derived from orangutan (sometimes pejorative)
Coastie
Someone from the Central Coast.

GeographyEdit

The bush
areas outside of major cities and towns.
The outback
often attributed to the deserts of inland Australia, but more often, that which is further away from cities than the 'bush' on the coast
Bushfire
wildfire
Woop Woop
The middle of nowhere (e.g.: So I was stuck out whoop whoop...)
Brissie
Brisbane
Rocky
Rockhampton
Radelaide
Adelaide, although if you're not a South Australian, avoid using this term or the locals will hate you.
Tassie
Tasmania
Wagga
Short for Wagga Wagga
Jindy
Short for Jindabyne
Bundy
Short for Bundaberg, the world's ginger beer capital
The Coast
Central Coast
Newy
Newcastle
Singo
Singleton
Bello
Bellingen
Tamo
Tamworth
Bre
Brewarrina
Freo
Fremantle

PlacesEdit

Servo
Service Station (Gas station in North America or petrol station in Europe)
Bottle-O
Bottle Shop (Liquor Store)
Maccas
The McDonald's restaurant chain
Gone walkabout
When the location of someone/something is unknown, e.g. my phone's gone walkabout
Woolies
Woolworths, a supermarket chain.

AnimalsEdit

Chook
Chicken or fowl
Mozzie
Mosquito
Roo
Kangaroo
Drop bear
Terrifying carnivorous species of koala that drops from its treetop hideout onto the heads of unsuspecting prey (particularly gullible tourists)

DrivingEdit

Chuck a uey
To make a U-turn (uey is pronounced yoo-ee)
Ute
Coupe utility vehicle

OtherEdit

Choc A bloc
full - usually referred to heavy city traffic - particularly in Melbourne
selfie
this slang may be used worldwide, but the original term "selfie" was an Australian slang word used to describe a self photograph

See alsoEdit


Australian English


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